Mathematics students often define themselves by their grades, test scores, how they compare to other people, how comfortable they feel in mathematics class, and so on. These experiences are all part of a student's mathematical life story. Students assume positions with particular rights and duties for themselves and for the actors in the stories they tell. Those positions reflect certain types and levels of status. Those types and levels of status have been shown to either inhibit or open a student's access to learning mathematics. Thus, a student's status in mathematics education is an issue of equity. Mathematics educators and mathematics education researchers alike have argued that equity is a critical issue to their field. This serious issue has motivated me to study status and associated positions from a student's perspective. Thus, I have analyzed students' mathematical life stories of two high school students for positions with concomitant rights and duties and associated these with types of status. Positions, which are situated in storylines (or larger narratives about interactions), have been identified which add to the field's definitions and understanding of status. Both student participants focused on different types of status in sharing their experiences, one focusing on academic status and the other focusing on peer status. Therefore, the positions for each student illuminate the relationship between positions and types of status. Contributions to the research which reflect this relationship are discussed as well as what teachers can learn from these stories to shape access to mathematics learning and to students' mathematical socialization.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Mathematics Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





mathematics education, positioning theory, status, mathematical life stories, mathematical socialization